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Biden Preparing to Lead

On Plugged In ...
President-elect Joe Biden …
selects his closest advisers …
and assembles a new …
national security team.
[[SOT Michael O’Hanlon]] 13:58 “Biden, a much older guy, and much more a creature of traditional Washington, is going to have to be more innovative than second term Obama”
Biden demonstrates …
his commitment to the environment …
by naming …
a Special Presidential Envoy …
for Climate.
[[SOT Carol Browner]] TC 03:52 "picking John Kerry has sent an incredible message to the world that we are back on climate change."
As the U.S. transitions …
from Trump to Biden …
how will it change …
the way America …
engages abroad …
and takes care of its own ...
On Plugged In ...
Biden Ready to Lead.

Hello and welcome …
to Plugged In.
I’m Greta Van Susteren …
reporting from Washington.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden ...
says he is ready to lead the world ...
and not retreat from it.

As he prepares to assume office ...
on January 20, 2021 ...
Mr. Biden says he is ready ...
to confront American adversaries ...
and not reject its allies.

Biden is pressing ahead. ...
with the transition process ...
even though President Donald Trump ...
has yet to formally concede.

And the people Biden is selecting …
to lead his national security …
and foreign policy team …
signals a significant change ...
from the last four years.

VOA Senior White House Correspondent
Patsy Widakuswara (PRONO: We-da-koo-swar-ah)


((President-elect Biden walks in, AFP V000_8VT4U8))
President-Elect Joe Biden announced key members of his foreign policy and national security team.
((AFP V000_8VT64P))
((Joe Biden, U.S. President-elect))
“It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again sit at the head of the table."
((Blinken and Thomas-Greenfield, AFP V000_8VT4U8))
If confirmed by the Senate, two former State Department officials who served in the former Obama administration will hold top diplomatic posts.
((GFX Blinken and Thomas-Greenfield))
Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, is Biden’s choice to lead the State Department. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs is set to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
((AFP V000_8VT4U8))
((Linda Thomas-Greenfield, UN Ambassador Nominee))
"America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back.”
((Pan of flags at the UN, AFP V000_8QE8XG, Reuters OWUNTCunifeed201109g))
Biden’s belief in historic alliances and multilateralism signal a departure from President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine.
(( TC 1:33))
((John Hudak, Brookings Institution)) ((Skype))
“He ((Biden)) wants to restore the type of faith that Americans and leaders around the world formerly had in the U.S. government, but that he perceives the Trump administration has really crumbled over the years. So that message is important to world leaders who many of whom outside of dictators and despots have really had a challenging time working with the incumbent administration.”
((Wide shot of Biden event, AFP V000_8VT4U8))
Biden’s nominees also show an emphasis on diversity.
((GFX Haines, Yellen, Mayorkas, Kerry, Sullivan))
If confirmed, Avril Haines would be the first woman to lead the intelligence community; Janet Yellen the country’s first female Treasury Secretary; and Alejandro Mayorkas the first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
((GFX Sullivan, Kerry))
43-year-old Jake Sullivan would be one of the youngest national security advisers. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who negotiated the Paris Climate Accord, will spearhead Biden’s efforts to fight climate change.
((Cracked earth and melted glaciers, AFP V000_VID801390_EN))
Another break from Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and withdrew the U.S. from the climate pact, which Biden plans to rejoin on day one.
((Joe Biden, U.S. President-Elect))
“I don't for a minute underestimate the difficulties of meeting my bold commitments to fighting climate change. At the same time no one should underestimate for a minute my determination to do just that.”


The foreign policy challenges …
that will face …
the Biden administration …
are vast.

The recent killing ...
of one of Iran’s ...
top nuclear scientists ...
has escalating tensions ...
in the Middle East.

Michael O’Hanlon …
is a Senior Fellow …
and Director …
of Foreign Policy Research ...
at the Brookings Institution ...
in Washington.

We discussed …
some of the most pressing …
foreign policy issues ...
facing the incoming president.



GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: let me start first with Iran, we're going to be having a new president, a president Biden. How is that going to change the relationship between the United States and Iran, if it does?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: Well this is going to be one of the huge areas of change, because we know the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and had something tantamount to a regime change policy towards Iran, extremely hardline -- was not really joined by most of the rest of the world in that policy, and it's not clear where that policy could realistically have led, but it did apply a lot of additional pressure on Iran. And then you throw COVID on top of that, Iran is hurting. So I think Biden's got a more difficult job ahead than simply returning to the deal. That's going to be what Iran expects and demands at first. But Iran may not really have the luxury of holding to that hard line, given the state of its economy. And Biden may be looking for some kind of an interim arrangement, which lifts some economic pressure and sanctions on Iran, but also refuses to live them all, until there is a longer lasting deal or a broader deal that would engender some Republican support in the United States as well. It's going to be quite a challenge and for a team that is so vested in this deal because basically everybody on the senior Biden team was part of the Obama team that negotiated the 2013 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, they're going to have to be a little bit intellectually flexible to figure out a new path forward, rather than just returning to their own baby in the form of a 2015 deal.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Will Vice President Biden, soon to be President Biden, be different towards China than President Trump?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: on China, I think anybody would be different, because it's such a work in progress. Even a second term Trump would have been different from a first term Trump. Even within the first term of Trump, he went from trying to buddy up with Xi Jinping in the first year to then engaging in a protracted trade war, but then sometimes trying to back off that trade war. And yes some of that was the peculiarity of Donald Trump, but it also reflected the changing view of China in the United States, in economic as well as security circles. Because of course as you know well, Greta, China was an extraordinarily complex and adversarial country up until the Nixon-Kissinger opening in the early 70s, we had a very bad relationship with China for the first 20 years after it went communist, but then since the Nixon-Kissinger opening, we've had basically 40 years in a row under Democrats and Republicans and trying to get along pretty well with China. And despite the occasional setback over something like Tiananmen Square, the overall path was positive and cordial and engagement was the basic strategy that Washington followed. That doesn't exist anymore, that consensus went away, even as the Biden, or excuse me, the Obama presidency was ending. And so therefore, I think we are in a new era of our relations with what's become the other great superpower on the planet. I would already give China that designation myself. And so I think we're gonna have a complex relationship we haven't yet sorted out.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: For eight years, Vice President Biden was Vice president to President Obama, now he’s had 4 years off. Now we're gonna have a President Biden. How is he gonna differ from his former boss, in terms of foreign policy, President Obama --is he going to be a lot like him or is he going to be different? Is he going to be his own man?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: You know, it's just a fascinating question, because, you know, he should try to be his own man, clearly, even if he keeps some of the Obama philosophy. But you could argue and many, certainly many people have argued that Obama himself was sort of running out of gas in his foreign policy by the end of his second term, that in his first term, he had this team of rivals Bob Gates, Hillary Clinton. He was projecting big visions and ideas for the world. And in the second term, he was sort of just trying to minimize America's, you know, burdens and losses in places like Afghanistan. He had to deal with the rise of ISIS. He had to deal with the return of Russia and the growing strength of China, and he didn't quite seem to adopt policies that were up to most of these challenges very quickly. Now, over time, to be fair to Obama, the Iraq strategy that he adopted against ISIS did work out, under President Trump, largely a continuous policy, just took time to make it work. Also I think Obama deserves some credit for being patient and restrained in his reactions to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which we had no alliance obligation to try to prevent and could have led to war. And I also give Obama credit for not getting us into yet another Middle Eastern or other conflict, on a large scale. But the overall perception of Obama was sort of running out of gas, running out of steam, running out of energy and America pulling back. So ironically for such a visionary president and such a smart guy, he didn't seem quite ready for all the new challenges. So in that regard, Biden, a much older guy, and much more a creature of traditional Washington, is going to have to be more innovative than second term Obama.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: How do you reconcile Trump's sort of America first foreign policy and President, a President Biden, who at least it seems to me is thinking of the US engaging more?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: Well, I think that, you know, it's better for Biden not to pick every single fight you could imagine with outgoing President Trump. And America first might have been a slogan that carried some overtones that, you know, not all of us liked on the Democratic side or on the Biden team. I'm not on the Biden team but I'm just saying multilateralists, you know many of us who are sort of traditional foreign policy people. And Biden people did not really like some of the connotation that went along with America first. However, the basic phrase and idea of America first is sort of unobjectionable when you think about it, because every president of the United States puts America first. And if he doesn't, you have to ask why he wanted to be President of the united states? Every leader of every country puts their own country first. The question is how do you do it. Do you ignore the interests and the concerns of your allies and other countries, along the way? And so Biden doesn't have to say that America first was a bad idea. He just says that he wants to put up, he should say he wants to put America First, while he also puts th e interests of allies and other countries on a high elevated level and discusses through dialogue as much as possible what the concerns are of other countries before making decisions that are designed to serve American interests, first and foremost. That's the kind of language that I would advise Biden to use, but I'll be fascinated to see if he wants to do something like that or if he wants to just completely reject the Trump slogan and Trump thinking. That's going to be one of his big decisions for his inaugural speech and beyond.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, thank you very much always nice to talk to you.

MICHAEL O’HANLON: Greta, thanks for having me on.
Joe Biden is turning to …
A long-time adviser for Secretary of State …
Antony Blinken …
[[ President-elect Joe Biden has announced several of his top cabinet picks, naming his long-time close adviser and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken as his choice to be the next secretary of state. VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more on Blinken, who is known as a staunch supporter of international alliances, human rights and refugees. ]]
((INTRO: ))
[[ President-elect Joe Biden has announced several of his top cabinet picks, naming his long-time close adviser and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken as his choice to be the next secretary of state. VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more on Blinken, who is known as a staunch supporter of international alliances, human rights and refugees. ]]
Blinken with Asian leaders in front of flag, Blinken speaking))
“Iran made a fundamental choice…”
Antony Blinken served as deputy secretary of state during the former Obama-Biden administration and has been advising President-Elect Joe Biden since 2002. He graduated from high school in Paris, France and is a strong supporter of NATO and other alliances and multilateral institutions.
((Mandatory courtesy: Sesame Street))
((Mandatory youtube logo))
Blinken led the U.S. response to a global refugee crisis and in 2016, he appeared on the American children’s show “Sesame Street” to explain who refugees are and how we can all learn from each other.
((Antony Blinken, Former Deputy Secretary of State))
"These are people who have had to leave their homes. Grover, can you imagine how difficult it would be to leave your home?
((“Grover” Sesame Street)
"No, I cannot! I would never want to leave Sesame Street!”
Some analysts say Blinken’s first priority will be to repair relationships and rejoin agreements President Donald Trump quit, like the Iran nuclear deal and others.
((Mark Simakovsky, Atlantic Council)) [ 00:04:49 - 00:05:14 ]
((Mandatory Skype logo))
“I think his first and most major priority will be restoring the perception of the United States as a trusted ally and partner around the world. I think he's going to want to shore up relationships that were damaged. Essentially you know, the mantra is ‘We're back’. You re-enter the United States into the climate, the Paris climate accords, trying to find a way potentially to extend the new START agreement…’
((Video: Linda Greenfield-Thomas soundbite))
In another announcement, veteran diplomat Linda Greenfield-Thomas is Biden’s choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
((Linda Greenfield-Thomas, Career U.S. Diplomat)) [1:24- ]
((Mandatory credit: TEDx Talks))
((Mandatory YouTube logo))
“But what I did have, I had the hopes and dreams of my mother. Who taught me at a very early age that I could face any challenge or adversity put in my path…”
If confirmed by the Senate, Blinken would assume State Department leadership from Mike Pompeo, who has served as secretary of state since April 2018.
((Cindy Saine, VOA News, Washington))
[[ GRETA ]]

President-elect Joe Biden ...
has said he will not …
immediately cancel …
the US-China trade deal …
negotiated by President Trump …
earlier this year.

Nor will he take …
any immediate steps …
to remove tariffs …
on Chinese exports.

U.S. farmers …
are paying close attention …
Biden’s selections …
to his cabinet …
for their views …
on trade policy with China.

VOA’s Kane Farabaugh (Fah-rah-baw)
reports from Bloomington, Illinois.



[[President-elect Joe Biden’s selections to lead Cabinet positions provide insight into how he plans to govern once he assumes office in January. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, while many farmers in the Midwestern United States may not have voted for Biden, they will be impacted by whom he picks to lead key agencies. ]]


After a tumultuous four years marked by trade uncertainty and now a global pandemic, many farmers across the country still supported President Donald Trump. Despite ongoing and unsupported claims of voter fraud, they are coming to terms with his loss in the November election.

((Brian Duncan, Illinois Farmer))


“It appears that the president’s chances grow dimmer day by day.”

((Fred Grieder, Illinois Farmer))


“I certainly think you can see instances of fraud and manipulation, but I find it hard to see that there would be that on the scale you would need to turn it around. Yeah, I think it’s done.”


Fred Greider and Brian Duncan both farm crops in the Midwestern state of Illinois, where President-elect Joe Biden won a decisive victory fueled by support in densely populated areas, like Chicago.

But rural Illinois, where President Trump was popular, is important to the nation’s agriculture industry.

Although about 1% of the U.S. population lives on a farm, the agriculture and food industry represents about 5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Illinois is one of the country’s leading exporters of corn and soybeans, crops both Greider and Duncan raise on their farms, which is why they are interested in whom Biden picks to lead the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA.

((Brian Duncan, Farmer & Vice President, Illinois Farm Bureau))


“I’d rather see someone who is more production-ag oriented to fill that role who can understand the needs of rural America and the farmers, because really USDA is the one advocate we have in an administration.”


Many farmers see current USDA secretary, former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue, as someone who had President Trump’s ear.

((Brian Duncan, Illinois Farmer))


“Certainly not everything he said or did was supported wholeheartedly in the countryside, but by and large the farmers I talked to saw Secretary Purdue as an advocate and an ally.”

((Mark Gebhards, Director of Governmental Affairs, Illinois Farm Bureau))


“That’s the person who has to go to the president and make sure they advocate for whatever agriculture’s needs are, so that’s going to be a key one. But the other one I think is the USTR position and whoever that trade representative is will be a very, very key person for us, closely followed by that is who the director of the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is.”


Mark Gebhards is the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Director of Governmental Affairs. He works with government agencies on behalf of Illinois farmers to guide public policy, which includes environmental regulations and trade issues.

((Mark Gebhards, Director of Governmental Affairs, Illinois Farm Bureau))


“There’s a lot of unknowns especially when it comes to China, and as you know, China is the big player in the game when it comes to purchases that they make.”


Under President Trump and Secretary Purdue, tens of billions of dollars in government aid flowed to farmers to offset losses in profit resulting from the administration’s escalating trade disputes, mostly with China. Despite recent progress, China hasn’t reached pre-trade-war levels of purchases on products such as soybeans.

((Robert Gulotty, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Chicago))

((Mandatory skype logo))


“They are still purchasing more from the competitors of the United States than they are from the U.S.”


University of Chicago Political Science Professor Robert Gulotty says the benefits of the Trump administration’s trade policies may not be realized until well after Trump has left office.

((Robert Gulotty, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Chicago))

((Mandatory skype logo))


“Biden is in a better position when it comes to trade policy in some sense, in a negotiation sense, because of the actions the Trump administration has taken. At the same time though, it’s been quite disruptive.”

Farmer Brian Duncan is taking a wait-and-see approach as he prepares for farm life under a new presidential administration.


Kane Farabaugh, VOA News, Bloomington, Illinois..

Environmentalists are praising …
President-elect Biden’s decision ...
to appoint former Secretary of State …
John Kerry as the first-ever …
climate envoy for national security.
Kerry helped negotiate ...
the Paris Climate Agreement ...
adopted by nearly 200 countries ...
back in 20-15.
President Trump ...
a vocal critic of the agreement …
formally withdrew the United States ...
from the deal late last year.
Carol Browner …
was the administrator …
of the Environmental ...
Protection Agency ….
under President Bill Clinton.
She also served as ...
director of the ...
White House Office of Energy ...
and Climate Change Policy ...
under President Obama.
We spoke about ...
the future of U.S. climate policy ...
and what it means for the world.
CB: Joe has sort of taken the climate issue and it is so huge, it is not just a domestic issue, as your audience knows, it's a global issue. And he said, I'm going to have john kerry lead the global side of this issue, I need someone to be out there working with other countries working in all of the various global forms where we can advance the agenda to reduce dangerous carbon pollution. And so you know, John, having been Secretary of State John Kerry will be quite successful at that. The world knows John Kerry, the world leaders know John Kerry. And picking John Kerry has sent an incredible message to the world that we are back on climate change. Not only am I going to re-up the US into the Paris accord, I am going to put a person that you all know that is quite committed on these issues .
GVS: What is what's the value of the Paris accord?

CB: Well, what the Paris accord was all about was each country making a commitment, a plan of what they would do to achieve reductions and then working together and holding each other accountable. Signing back up says the United States is prepared to put in place programs that achieve measurable sustainable pollution, climate pollution reductions, we can do this this is not impossible for the United States. In part because of President Obama did his part because what the private sector has done in the last four years while President Trump has turned away from climate change, and in part because what states have done, you have more than two dozen states now that have clean energy standards that will mean reductions in carbon pollution. And so when we look at all of those activities, plus what President Elect Biden is committing to, we can meet our targets, we can be an important part of helping to lead the world. But it's so important for your listeners to just remember, climate change, or like a lot of other pollutants is a global phenomenon. It doesn't matter where the pollution comes from, and you need to address the immediate impacts and whether that's asthma, respiratory illnesses. But once it's up in the climate, it becomes a sort of a global problem. So all of us doing our part is very important. And the United States back at the table, in a thoughtful way with this domestic agenda will make a huge difference.
GVS: How do you answer the question is that if you have a lesser developed country, look at the United States, and the United States now, with lots of rules and regulations include environments where they say, “well, sure, you've already ruined the environment. I've done all these things, but we want to develop now.” And if we have to comply with some of these agreements, it's our economic ability to move forward?

CB: That's a fair question. It's a fair discussion. It's one that happens in these international forums. What Paris is about is each country to the best of their ability. So it recognizes that countries aren't identical, and that countries histories are different.
GVS: How do you make a decision when it's an environment versus the economy? What sort of basis?

CB: Well, I don't think you have to make that decision. In fact, I would suggest that a cleaner environment gets you better economy and a better economy allows you to invest in a cleaner economy. We saw in President Obama's first term, the Recovery Act, it had the greatest the largest investment in clean energy in the history of the United States. And what we did is we were able to really say certain decisions today they create more jobs than any other part of the for the electric generating industry. And they're at price parity. Another world you can buy electricity that comes from wind and solar at the same price that it comes from fossil fuels. So I think we've seen, yes, we've heard this argument before that sometimes it is a choice, but the evidence you look back if you effect the evidence tells a very different story. It says there isn't a choice. And in fact, they work together.
GVS: Is it too late?

CB: You know what? I'm an optimist. I'm not a pessimist. I don't believe it's too late. It is more natural Because we have waited too, so long But it is not too late. I have absolutely Confidence in American leadership and American innovation and American engineering And if we set the targets, I have no doubt that we will find the solutions and we will find them faster and more cheaply. And that is a good COVID example what just happened on all of the vaccine work, right? We people put their minds to it and COVID We're going to see I guess, maybe before the end of the year the first vaccines, we can do the same thing on climate change.
GVS: Thank you very much for joining me.

CB: Thank you.

After four years …
of President Trump’s …
“America First” policy …
President-elect Joe Biden …
says his administration …
will reassert …
America’s historic role …
as a global leader.

VOA United Nations correspondent …
Margaret Besheer (Buh-sheer) ...
reports on the high expectations …
that the United States …
will re-engage …
at the world body.


((WEB LEDE:)) At the United Nations, four years of “America first” has sometimes meant “America alone.” President-elect Joe Biden said his administration will reassert the nation’s historic role as a global leader, leaving U.N. diplomats and observers hopeful that America will return to multilateralism and engagement at the world body.))
((TV ANCHOR LEDE:)) After four years of President Trump’s “America First” policy, President-elect Joe Biden says his administration will reassert the nation’s historic role as a global leader. VOA correspondent Margaret Besheer reports that expectations at the United Nations are high the United States will re-engage at the world body.
((TEXT)) ((VIDEO: Joe Biden walking out onto stage to introduce his national security and foreign policy team at 11/24 presser. Originally MRT logged this event at:
Exported to Portable media (\\na_dgvshare\ExportedMedia\VIDEO\MXF).
ALL CLIPS WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE IN FRAME.IO ([VOA] Central Published > Central Tuesday 11-24 > MRT CLIPS > President-Elect Biden / Announcement / Cabinet Nominees) ))
When he introduced his top national security and foreign policy officials last month, President-elect Joe Biden said they reflect that “America is back.”
((President-elect Joe Biden)) ((CLIP at top of 11/24 presser))
“Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Ready to confront our adversaries, not reject our allies. And ready to stand up for our values.”
((NARRATOR)) ((VIDEO: Generic: UN peacekeepers in the field; Palestinian refugees))
At the United Nations, the Trump administration has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to programs, including peacekeeping missions, Palestinian refugees and for women’s reproductive health. It pulled out of U.N. agencies like the World Health Organization and quit a major accord on climate action.
Biden could win some international goodwill by quickly undoing some of Trump’s policies.
((VIDEO: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaking at a UN Security Council meeting))
Experts say U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will likely have more latitude with the new U.S. administration.
((Richard Gowan, UN Director, International Crisis Group)) ((CLIP: Gowan Intv at 8:00 in))
((Mandatory Skype logo))
“I think we are going to see Guterres laying out some pretty ambitious plans in the year ahead on how to fight climate change and how to fight inequality. Because in a sense, he is liberated to promote ambitious ideas for international cooperation after a period in which he had to be enormously cautious to avoid offending Trump.”
Biden’s nominee to be U.N. Ambassador and member of his Cabinet is career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
((Linda Thomas Greenfield, U.N. Ambassador nominee)) ((VIDEO: 11/24 Biden Cabinet presser, info above in Biden clip.))
“America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
((NARRATOR)) ((VIDEO: UN General Assembly Hall with a full house (pre covid) milling around
Diplomats have publicly and privately welcomed her nomination.
((Jerry Matjila, South African Ambassador to the UN)) ((CLIP at 1:00:50 (last answer) in this downloadable video file:
“We think that she will bring to bear a vast experience — over three decades of diplomacy — and that’s what we need now. Now, we need diplomatic skills, maturity and knowing we have a common cause, all of us.”
((NARRATOR)) ((VIDEO: Wires/generic Iran nukes))
Whether to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal will quickly test the new administration.
((Randa Slim, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute)) ((CLIP: Slim Interview at 1:50 in))
((Mandatory skype logo))
“The president-elect recognizes that this is going to be a tough road ahead. […] ((2:03:)) If Iran were to enter into strict compliance with the 2015 deal, then the U.S. will rejoin the deal, but only as the beginning of follow-on negotiations — and that’s where the difficulties are going to come.”
((NARRATOR)) ((VIDEO: generic of Chinese ambassador speaking at UN Security Council with “China” plaque on table showing))
At the United Nations, China moved to expand its influence as the Trump administration pulled back.
((Richard Gowan, UN Director, International Crisis Group)) ((CLIP: Gowan Intv at 2:25 in))
((Mandatory skype logo))
“Biden, I think, will want to limit Chinese influence but does know that in some ways, it is necessary to work with Beijing.”
((NARRATOR)) ((VIDEO: Biden has been at the UN during past UN General Assemblies. Can you try to search “Biden UNGA” to see if any footage of him in NY?))
Both allies and adversaries are eager to see how Biden and his U.N. envoy will translate this new U.S. leadership at the United Nations.


The economic slowdown ...
caused by the pandemic ...
has been devastating ...
to many small businesses …
and low-income workers …
in the U.S.

Those frontline workers ...
many of whom are women ...
and people of color ...
hope the new president …
will mean a rise ...
in the federal minimum wage.

VOA reporter....
Veronica Balderas Iglesias
(PRONO: Ball-dare-us Ig-lay-see-us) ...
looks at the pros and cons ...
for the incoming Biden administration ...



Orlando Davila has worked in this ‘microbusiness’ since 2012. The 73-year-old, Bolivian-born prep cook really should retire, but he can’t afford that.
((Orlando Davila/Prep Cook, Haute Dogs & Fries (male in Spanish) ))
“I need to work because I have a house and need to pay three thousand dollars in mortgage, plus water, electricity and gas”.
((Necesito trabajar porque tengo mi casa, tengo que pagar mi casa, 3000 dolares el mortgage, mas agua, luz, gas))
75% of workers at this Virginia restaurant earn between 8 and 12 dollars an hour. That’s a little bit higher than the federal minimum wage, which now stands at seven dollars and 25 cents an hour.
((Mandatory cg: AP))
President Elect Joe Biden has promised to double that minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour.
The restaurant’s creative director, Chloe Swanson, wants to support her workers. She knows the cost of living has gone up over the years.
But she agrees with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans, who say boosting wages puts businesses under stress.
((Chloe Swanson/Haute Dogs & Fries))
“Because you realize that you have to have some major budgetary cuts, perhaps even just staffing cuts.///I do believe we are overdue for a minimum wage raise.// I think it’s something that should be done incrementally.”
A bill to do just that is stalled in Congress....
….thanks mainly to differences between Republicans and Democrats. It would gradually hike the pay floor to 15 dollars an hour by 2025.
In the meantime, seven states already have or are moving toward a 15-dollar minimum.
Add to that Florida, where voters approved it in this month’s election.
((VOA Video Washington Monument))
And since July 1st, Washington, D.C.’s minimum went to 15 dollars.
Raising the wage is a matter of fairness,
says Ben Zipperer an economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
((Ben Zipperer/Economic Policy Institute))
((Mandatory cg: Skype))
“Women and people of color are disproportionately paid low wages./We actually have, unfortunately a racist and sexist labor market in the United States, and we should use whatever policy tools that we have in order to correct that problem.”
But not everyone agrees. Adnan Hamidi, owner of a cupcake shop, calls it government interference.
((Adnan Hamidi/CEO, Alexandria Cupcake))
“Invest in programs that are able to help them. How about grow the person, versus mandating someone to deplete their payroll, basically.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that raising the federal minimum wage by 2025
could boost wages for some 27 million workers -- but also cost 1.3 million jobs.
(((VIDEO: AP ))
Whether Biden can break the stalemate in Congress may hinge on a critical January election in the state of Georgia.
Two U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot.
The outcome will decide whether Democrats can win control of the Senate in addition to the House.
((Ben Zipperer/Economic Policy Institute))
((Mandatory cg: Skype))
“There are smaller things that can be done through presidential actions or executive orders. //// But an economy wide change in labor-law requires congressional approval.”
Low-wage workers like Natalie Pugmire, a beauty Salon tech, are hopeful.
((Natalie Pugmire/Beauty Salon Tech))
“It shouldn’t be just a struggle to be at the bottom of the ladder./ I think you are going to have a stronger team and a team that stays longer, if you’re paying them a fair wage.”
((Veronica Balderas Iglesias, for VOA News, Virginia))

That’s all the time we have for now.

Thank you to my guests ...
Bookings Institution ...
Senior Fellow ...
Michael O’Hanlon ...
And Former EPA Administrator ...
Carol Browner.

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